Annual information statement may make tax filing easier

Tax filing is set to get easier as taxpayers can view tax-related information on their various incomes at one place in the new annual information statement (AIS).

The income tax department launched AIS this week on its portal that not only contains a comprehensive outlay of the taxpayer information but also allows the taxpayer to submit feedback on the provided information.

If a taxpayer finds any information in the AIS to be incorrect, duplicated or belonging to a different financial year, he/she can report the same in the form of a feedback.

“The taxpayers are requested to view the information shown in annual information statement (AIS) and provide feedback if the information needs modification,” the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) stated.

Which information is included?

The AIS captures information on almost all financial transactions done in the previous financial year.

It includes interest earned on bank savings account, interest on fixed and recurring deposits, dividend payout, purchase of securities and units of mutual funds, sale proceeds of securities and mutual funds, off-market credit transactions, foreign remittances and salary income, among other things.

The idea is to give taxpayers a comprehensive statement on their transactions that they can refer to while filing their income tax returns.

“On the one hand, the AIS is expected to be useful to taxpayers in giving details of all the transactions, where their PAN is reported by concerned reporting entity and prepare them in advance for necessary discussion with tax authorities. On the other hand, this AIS provides a comprehensive information database to the tax authorities regarding transactions undertaken by the taxpayer at a single place,” said Shailesh Kumar, partner, Nangia & Co. LLP.

Since taxpayers can check the information beforehand and get incorrect information modified before submitting their ITR, it also reduces the hassle of dealing with enquiries from the IT department for the smallest of errors.

In the past few years, the CBDT has revamped ITR forms to seek detailed disclosures and increased the scope of information in Form 26AS to plug tax leaks. Now with the AIS, there will not be much scope for taxpayers to hide income in their ITR returns.

“With roll-out of AIS, taxpayers will need to review their AIS from time to time and watch out for any transaction reported in their AIS. In case they believe any incorrect information has been reported in their AIS, they should reach out to the concerned reporting entity immediately and maintain necessary documentation to prove that such incorrect transaction reported in their AIS does not belong to them,” said Kumar.

The CBDT official statement has suggested that AIS may gradually replace Form 26AS. For this assessment year, however, you should tally information provided in both Form 26AS and AIS. If there is any variation between information in AIS as shown on the IT website and Form 26AS on TRACES portal, the taxpayer should consider the latter, said the CBDT.

Where to find the AIS?

The AIS can be downloaded from the income tax e-filing portal (incometax.gov.in). Once you login, go to the services tab and select AIS option from the dropdown list.

Apart from the detailed AIS, the portal will also show you tax information summary (TIS), which contains the aggregate value to be used during tax filing.

“TIS shows the processed value (i.e. the value generated after de-duplication of information based on pre-defined rules) and derived value (i.e. the value derived after considering the taxpayer feedback and processed value). If the taxpayer submits feedback on AIS, the derived information in TIS will be automatically updated in real time,” the CBDT said in its statement.

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